Almost caught up with my conference and talk summaries from a couple weeks ago!

Secure360 is arguably “the” security conference in the Twin Cities each year. 2019 was the 14thyear for the event and it was very well-attended.

About Secure360

In the words of the Upper Midwest Security Alliance (“UMSA”):

This marked the first year that the event was held at the Mystic Lake Center in Prior Lake, and it was a perfect venue. Secure360 is a two-day conference, and I showed up in the afternoon of day two for my talk. I wish I had been able to be there for more, but business kept me away until then.

My impressions were very positive. The event was well organized, and there were people everywhere. I ran into a bunch of people that I know, which made the event comfortable too. I didn’t spend any time in the vendor area because I hate being sold stuff. Walking through the vendor areas at conferences sometimes feels like trying to survive a lions den with a T-bone hanging from my neck.

Judging from the published program, the quality of speakers and the content of talks was very good.

2020’s Secure360 conference will be held at the same place on May 5thand 6th. It will mark the 15thyear, one heck of an accomplishment!

What was I doing there?

Just two things this time.

First, just like the Loffler event, this was a great opportunity to say “hi” to a bunch of people that I don’t get to see very often. I ran into some people that I haven’t seen in a very long time! Fun to catch-up.

Second, I gave another talk.

The Talk

The title was Speaking Information Security. A copy of this talk can be downloaded here (link) and it’s also available on Secure360s site.

Like the other talk earlier in the day, this one was also well-attended. This room was mostly full, which sort of surprised me. I was surprised because my session was in the last group of sessions on the 2ndday (last day) of the conference. I didn’t think people would still want to hang out. They did. Here’s what I said to them (in jest, of course).

“Ever throw a party? You know when the party is winding down, and there are those folks that just won’t leave? They keep milling around, you’re tired, and you’re trying to shoo them out the door… That’s you. You’re though folks.”

The Secure360 party was coming to an end, but these infosec party animals wanted to keep going. They were committed!

This was essentially the same talk I gave earlier in the day at Tech Fest, but I was bolder with this crowd. I might have been a little ornery because I was getting tired (3rdtalk of the week), or maybe it was because I was talking to members of my own tribe (information security people). The point of the talk was to drive home the fact that we don’t speak the same language in our industry, and to make matters worse, we don’t have any good translations either. Take slide 7 for instance (pictured below).

Information security is… What? Just about everyone in my talk was a security person, but nobody wanted to give me an answer. Why? As I continued, through the presentation, there was head nodding everywhere. Slide 20 made sense to everyone it seemed. People were taking notes anyway, and nobody spoke up in disagreement.

By the time we got to slide 31, you could see skepticism growing on some people’s faces. FISASCORE® for free?! FRSecure has sold millions of dollars worth of FISASCORE® assessments over the years. Why would we make it free?! The simple answer comes from our mission; to fix our broken industry. Our mission is this, not to make millions of dollars on something that everyone should have. Let’s spend more time and money on fixing things.

I asked the audience, “How many of you are skeptical?” Only a few raised their hands. To the rest, I said (in jest again), “I thought you were all security people. I’m disappointed that more of you aren’t skeptical!”Laughs (maybe just obligatory ones). To the skeptics:

Help us. Join us to make a singular information security language that ALL can speak, and ALL can speak freely.

To the obstructionists; buzz off and get out of the way.

The talk was well received. People genuinely seemed interested, and a dozen or so stayed to talk with me afterwards. Met some new people and I’m looking forward to working with some of them toward some common goals. Oh yeah, I gave away some more books too. I like giving stuff away.

Overall, Secure360 is a great conference. I highly recommend it for the quality of the content and the wonderful people everywhere, which makes for great networking opportunities. Way to go UMSA!